Veterans Day: The End of World War I

This is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
This is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
The beginning of the end of World War I occurred on Nov. 11, 1918, 100 years ago today, when guns fell silent, poetically enough, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.

    As a condition of the roadmap to peace, the Germans were to evacuate Belgium, France and Alsace-Lorraine, along with the rest of the left bank of the Rhine. Troops in East Africa had to surrender. German armies had to withdraw to the prewar German frontier. Prisoners of war were repatriated. Significantly, Germany had to turn over 5,000 pieces of artillery, 25,000 machine guns, 1,700 aircraft, 5,000 locomotives and 150,000 railroad cars, according to Ecyclopaedia Britannica online.
     One year later, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation naming this day Armistice Day, in commemoration of the war's end, "To us in America," Wilson's proclamation read, "the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
   In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name of the day to Veterans Day. Today, the commemoration includes all veterans. But the origins are still traced to the end of World War I, which took the lives of 20 million people and left another 20 million injured, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Here are links to posts we've written about the war during the past four years:
  • World War I, Day One, July 28, 1914: After a man with ties to a Serbian terrorist organization assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia—a full month later.
  • World War I art sought to sway opinion: Artists were called upon to design posters to help raise both money and support for the war effort.
  • 100 years ago, five reasons World War I started: The first shots in World War I were fired June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, by a Bosnian of Serbian ancestry who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. Austria-Hungary then declared war on Serbia, and soon other nations lined up on one side or the other in the conflict.
  • World War I soldiers honored: Attacked by a German raiding party, a 21-year-old American soldier snapped into action, firing his weapon until he was out of bullets, pulling out his knife for hand-to-hand combat, tossing grenades and rescuing a fellow soldier.
  • Versailles: A past that may be prologue: In 1919, after the war's end, the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, negotiated by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s successor, President Warren G. Harding, approved a separate treaty concluding the war in 1921.
  • How the first world war got its name: We know the war that broke out in Europe in 1914 as World War I, but it would not be called by that name until 20 years after the war ended—and another one was beginning.


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